The Alexander Technique was developed in the late 19th century and its popularity became widespread. This technique by Alexander was an actor from Australia who was born in Tasmania and ended up living in London towards the end of his life. The technique that bears his name generally has to do with the ability of human beings to change their habits. It was discovered by Alexander and perpetuated by other authors who took up his ideas and added to them. He first discovered the malleability of human behavior in a self experiment related to his vocation as a Shakespearean orator. The story goes that he would often lose his voice on stage and finally decided to observe himself with mirrors. Over time, he discovered that he had certain tics of behavior that would occur directly before he began to speak that were directly affecting the power and staying time of his voice once he had begun to speak on the stage. He became a teacher of this technique, first with actors and later with more scientific individuals.
This technique is vitally important with a discussion on Ergonomics. When he first discovered the particular physical tic that was keeping him from controlling his voice on stage he referred to it as a problem with the way he “used himself.” This idea of “using” the human body rather than just inhabiting it fully, of separating the mind away from the physical self, changes the way people can view their own bodies and how they use them on a daily basis in order to accomplish the tasks necessary for their survival at work and at home.
Ergonomics and the study of the way in which the human body can accomplish its work most efficiently has benefited greatly from the inclusion of the Alexander Technique. Ergonomics can identify the ways in which every worker can improve their comfort and efficiency, and this Technique can teach them to look at their body less as a source of “me” and more as a wonderful tool that can be manipulated very well or very poorly. The most important use of this technique is to help people make slight alterations in their patterns of movement and work so that they can more easily and comfortably accomplish their tasks. This technique provides the awareness that is necessary for these changes in body and mind to come about.
When practicing the songs you are going to sing in front of an audience it is good to exercise in front of a mirror. This not only helps with seeing how you “look” to the audience but also how you want to move to best bring out your song and the meaning of it.
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